The #1 way to systematically improve customer service is this:
Embed respect for the customer’s time into your processes and practices.
- In a sit-down restaurant, minor errors in an order are mildly annoying, but can usually be dealt with fairly quickly. When it’s drive-through or take-out, and the customer won’t discover the problem until they get home, it’s critical to double-check the order before handing it to them.
- In a restaurant, some items are time-sensitive. If someone asks for extra cream, they’re not drinking their coffee until they get it. If they want honey for their pancakes instead of syrup, they’re not going to eat them until they get it. Make it a practice to take care of any extras before the food for which it’s needed is served.
- Here’s an example of someone doing it right: Men’s Wearhouse has tailors on-site at all of their stores. If all you need is a pants hem (which is always needed on dress slacks), they take care of it while you wait, and you only pay for any given alteration once. That saved me one time when I had to wear my MW tux and had gotten a little bit big for them. The tailor opened up a few minutes before the store opened, let out the waist a couple of inches while I waited, and didn’t charge me for it.
- Another example: Discount Tire will check and rotate your tires (purchased from them, of course) for free, while you wait, pretty much no matter how busy they are. For even more time savings, you can make an appointment online.
Do you know of another company that’s doing this well? Share in the comments below.